Investment transforms mobility for people with visual impairments
WeWALK, has announced it has secured more than £1.5m investment to help it further develop its technology across other domains, and grow its global market presence. The campaign has been bolstered following financial backing from institutional investors and more than 400 individuals.
WeWALK’s software-enabled products, which are CE registered for the UK and EU markets, and FCC and FDA registered for the US market, transform mobility for people with visual impairments. Its Smart Cane uses a front-mounted ultrasonic sensor which detects obstacles and warns users with vibration feedback. The company has also developed the WeWALK Smartphone App, which pairs with the Smart Cane, giving users a voice assistant enabling them to discover and explore new spaces. It provides directions and navigation details, and improves access to public transport.
WeWALK’s product development progressed through a number of high-profile R&D partnerships with the likes of Microsoft and Imperial College London. The company has been producing its Smart Canes in Vestel, the largest electronics manufacturing facility in Europe.
WeWALK headquartered in London says it has developed close links with a number of leading UK institutions. Its advisory board includes Professor Washington Ochieng of Imperial College London and the RNIB’s (Royal National Institute of Blind People) Robin Spinks, a leading UK advocate for visually impaired individuals.
This latest investment round is aimed at helping WeWALK to scale its business in key global markets and establish new R&D partnerships to develop its technology to support other mobility-related functions. It will also use the funds to roll out a new subscription model for WeWALK users. This approach will ensure its Smart Cane will become more affordable to a wider global audience.
The company hopes to raise a further £500,000 in the investment round through equity crowdfunding where anyone can invest through the Crowdcube platform and become a WeWALK shareholder.
WeWALK Co-founder & CPO Kürşat Ceylan is an award-winning innovator who has been blind from birth. He worked in the pharmaceutical industry and moved to the tech sector where he developed software products reaching more than 100,000 visually impaired people. Through his work, Kürşat was invited to address the UN’s Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Ceylan said: “WeWALK’s products are transforming the lives of visually impaired people across the world by dramatically improving their mobility. We want to scale our business to reach a wider audience and further develop our technology so it can be used by other groups in society such as elderly people who also face mobility-related challenges.
“The significant additional investment from institutional investors and further financial support from more than 400 individual investors through our crowdfunding is contributing to these ambitions by helping us develop new partnerships in key markets, including the UK where we plan to grow our sales and R&D functions.
“We will also use funds to help the business migrate towards a subscription-based model. This approach will enable WeWALK to reduce its hardware costs making our Smart Cane more accessible to a wider global audience.”